Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM MST, activity tables will be open from 10am-1pm.
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UNM Student Union Building - Ballrooms A, B, & C
Albuquerque, NM 87131 


Professor Dave Hanson
UNM Dept of Biology


NASA ISS Live Downlink 

The University of New Mexico and The Children’s Hour will host a live chat with astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) in December.  This is a rare and out of this world opportunity for students to engage with NASA astronauts, space experts and other space enthusiasts in an interactive atmosphere. 

The NASA In-Flight Education Downlink, planned for Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 10:30am-12:30pm at UNM’s Student Union Building (SUB), is open and free to students throughout New Mexico.  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for the Ballroom as audience capacity is 750.  However, live video of the event will be on the TV in the SUB atrium (90 more chairs, and streamed on the internet a live.unm.edu. The event will be full of exciting experts from NASA and experts doing NASA work in New Mexico, as well as fun activities and information booths to get students set on a path to be stars. ACTIVITY TABLES will be staffed from 10am to 1pm outside of the SUB ballroom.

Students will ask pre-submitted, vetted questions directly to astronauts about life aboard the space station, NASA’s deep space exploration plans and what it’s like to conduct science in space.  Students can prepare for the event by participating in existing NASA education/citizen science activities, reading up on the space station, astronaut biographies and about current research activities happening aboard the station.  

“This event is a great opportunity for teachers to engage students similar to an interactive mission control environment,” said UNM Professor David Hanson. “This event is designed for students in grades 4-9 grades as well as high school students, and undergraduate students at UNM who have not discovered their passion for a career.”

International Space Station In-flight Education Downlinks support NASA's efforts to encourage K-12 students to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Downlinks are facilitated by the Johnson Space Center Office of Education as part of STEM on Station, and use the unique experience of human spaceflight to promote and enhance STEM education.  Astronauts living on the orbiting laboratory are able to participate in these educational calls, and communicate 24 hours a day with the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, through the agency Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.

The goal is to inspire students with fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); to help teachers stimulate the interests of their classes in these subjects; and ultimately, through their students' pursuit of dreams, to advance American achievements in discovery, invention and exploration.  Specific learning objectives for the event include creating interest among interested students in STEM by connecting with ordinary experience to extraordinary opportunities; demystify science by conducting real-world science; and develop community connections so youth have near-peer mentors at every stage of their education.

The event schedule also includes: an interactive jumping activity with a performance by the Albuquerque Air Jump Rope Team;  Q&A/presentations by NASA contractor Jacob Torres, a New Mexico native working at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on efforts to grow New Mexico green chile in space; KSC NASA staff member Kurt Luecht on in-situ resource utilization for exploration of the moon and Mars, current KSC interns working on plant growth (livestream from KSC); a presentation by UNM’s Charles “Chip” Shearer on his new project at UNM to examine moon cores from Apollo 17; and much more!

Additionally, audiences throughout New Mexico will be able to participate through the listening audience of The Children’s Hour broadcasting, Saturday at 9 a.m. on KUNM, as well as other large networks of local museums including Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Nuclear Sciences and History.

Learning activities will also be available and can be done anywhere across the state in classrooms, participating museums and even at home.  These events will include competitions, NASA citizen science activities and ongoing space and STEM-related museum activities.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There is limited capacity for this event.  If the maximum number has been reached at the time that you try to register and you are unable to do so, please email Professor Dave Hanson at dthanson@unm.edu and your group will be placed on a waiting list and contacted within a few days of the event if space becomes available.